Rhode Island Car Insurance (Coverage, Companies, & More)

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Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in...

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Chris Harrigan has an economy degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise...

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Reviewed byChris Harrigan
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UPDATED: Jun 10, 2020

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Rhode Island Stats SummaryStatistics
Miles of Roadway6,046
Vehicles Registered in RI843,346
Population1,055,916
Most Popular Vehicle in the StateRAV4
Percentage of Uninsured15.20%
Total Driving Related Deaths59
Speeding Fatalities27
Alcohol-Related Fatalities20
Average Annual Premiums$1,303.50
Average Liability Premiums$759.80
Average Collision Premiums$411.51
Average Comprehensive Premiums$132.19
Cheapest ProvidersUSAA CIC, State Farm Mutual Auto
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At 1,214 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the nation. Don’t let the size of the state fool you, however — Rhode Island packs a lot of history into its tiny borders.

The Ocean State is the home of the first American circus, the first discount store, the first open golf tournament, and houses the largest bug in North America – the 58-foot blue termite on top of the New England Pest Control building. Rhode Island is also home to mandatory minimum insurance laws, which means you are required to carry liability coverage for your vehicle at all times.

Although insurance is a requirement, finding the right insurance plan for you is not always easy. Calling multiple insurance companies for quotes and coverage comparisons is confusing and time-consuming, but luckily there are better options available.

If you’re ready to start comparing rates for your auto insurance, enter your ZIP code now to get started.

Table of Contents

Rhode Island Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

Understanding the details of your car insurance is not an easy task. From your required minimum levels of coverage to how your rates are calculated, the subject is complex and changes from state to state, but it’s possible to learn the ins and outs of the laws and requirements of your insurance.

Read below to find out more about the specifics of your insurance and the laws that guide your experiences as a driver and a car owner.

Rhode Island’s Car Culture

Car culture in Rhode Island is as unique as the rest of the state. Having more than 11 cars in front of your home is a misdemeanor, so Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno would need to plan for indoor car storage if they decided to move to Rhode Island.

Just because they don’t want your car collection in your driveway doesn’t mean they don’t love cars, however – there were 21 car shows in Rhode Island in 2019, proving just how much people in the state love their cars.

Rhode Island Minimum Coverage

Like most of the country, Rhode Island is an at-fault state. This means that in an accident, the driver who is at fault is financially responsible for all the damages caused, including both bodily injuries and property damage. This is why the state requires mandatory liability coverage.

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In Rhode Island, all drivers are required by law to carry minimum liability coverage. The minimum liability coverage levels in the state are:

  • Bodily injury – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage – $25,000
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

Technically, Rhode Island doesn’t require you to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if you only carry minimum liability levels, but it is required for higher levels of liability coverage.

You must opt out of the coverage in writing if you choose not to have it, so we’re including it in the minimum coverage levels just the same. But why would you want uninsured motorist coverage?

Because, while insurance is required by law, more than 15 percent of Rhode Island residents don’t have the mandatory insurance coverage.

This means that in the event of an accident, the other person might not be prepared to pay a single dime toward your damages. Choosing uninsured motorist coverage is the best way to make sure you’re protected in an accident.

Forms of Financial Responsibility

In Rhode Island, registering a car requires proof of insurance. You’ll also need proof of insurance if you’re pulled over by the police while driving or find yourself in an accident.

In 2014, Rhode Island passed a law allowing drivers to use their smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices to access proof of insurance at the DMV and for police officers during a traffic stop. This was done because it’s more convenient to access your proof of financial responsibility online than to have to keep track of a paper card or certificate.

If you don’t have insurance but you can provide a surety bond, a certificate of self-insurance, a cash bond, or other proof of financial responsibility, you’ll want to reach out to the Rhode Island DMV and find out if your alternative coverage meets the state requirements.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

A wide variety of factors affect your insurance premiums. Everything from your age to your gender to your ZIP code can have a noticeable effect on your rates. This can make it difficult to determine your premium as a percentage of your income.

StatesFull Coverage
2014
Disposable
Income 2014
Insurance as %
of Income 2014
Full Coverage
2013
Disposable
Income 2013
Insurance as %
of Income 2013
Full Coverage
2012
Disposable
Income 2012
Insurance as %
of Income 2012
Rhode Island$1,257.40$42,585.002.95%$1,210.55$41,139.002.94%$1,176.05$41,492.002.83%
Connecticut$1,132.78$56,186.002.02%$1,109.03$53,939.002.06%$1,082.28$55,895.001.94%
Massachusetts$1,107.76$50,366.002.20%$1,080.48$48,504.002.23%$1,048.06$49,507.002.12%
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People with poor driving records could be spending 20 percent or more of their income on their insurance, while someone with an excellent driving record might be spending less than 5 percent of their income on their insurance premium.

To figure out how much of your income is spent on car insurance, take the amount of your premium divided by your income (either gross or net) then multiply by 100.

For example, if a man is earning $39,960 and paying $2,000 for insurance each year, he spends 5.01 percent of his gross income on his car insurance each year.

As he gets older his insurance rates will change, but other factors such as his ZIP code and credit history will also affect his rates, which means he may not be able to predict whether his rates will go up or down in the future.

You can use our calculator below to determine the percentage of income you are spending on your car insurance.

CalculatorPro

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in RI (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

Let’s start with a look at the core coverage in Rhode Island, and what it costs on average.

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RI Insurance Costs20152014201320122011Average
Liability$759.80$739.87$719.53$702.52$678.60$720.06
Collision$411.51$392.36$372.15$357.12$352.16$377.06
Comprehensive$132.19$125.17$118.86$116.41$118.21$122.17
Total Avg$1,303.50$1,257.40$1,210.55$1,176.05$1,148.97$1,219.29
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Liability coverage is required in Rhode Island, but there is a lot more to insurance than just liability. If you want to protect all your financial interests, you may want to consider purchasing some or all of these types of coverage as well:

  • LiabilityLiability insurance protects you financially by paying for damages to the other driver’s vehicle if you’re at fault in an accident. It also covers medical bills in the event of injuries caused in an accident where you were at fault.
  • Uninsured motorist coverageUninsured motorist coverage, often referred to as UM, is usually mandatory in Rhode Island. This portion of your coverage pays for your own bodily injury needs if you’re in an accident where an uninsured driver was at fault. It matches your liability levels, so if you want extra UM coverage you need to increase your liability levels to match.
  • CollisionCollision insurance protects you financially by paying for damages to your vehicle if you’re at fault in an accident, whether you hit a stationary object or another vehicle. Sometimes lenders require you to have collision coverage if you are paying off a car loan, so keep that in mind when getting an insurance quote.
  • Comprehensive Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car that isn’t caused by an accident. Some things that might be covered under a comprehensive policy include flood damage, vandalism, and theft.

Insurance companies may have their own guidelines as to what is covered under your comprehensive and collision policies, so make sure you do your research when choosing an insurance provider.

NOTE: in the table above the numbers are based on the Rhode Island state minimums. Your rates may vary depending on the type and level of coverage you select.

Additional Coverage

When it comes to additional coverage you will want to consider personal injury protection (PIP). Even though Massachusetts and other states often require PIP coverage as part of a basic liability plan, Rhode Island does not.

Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage (UM) takes the place of the liability insurance the other person should have (or should have more of, depending on the situation), but PIP provides additional coverage that can be used for medical expenses or even lost wages, depending on the specifics of your policy.

PIP is often a smaller amount of coverage, sometimes as low as $2,000, but can usually be increased depending on your needs.

PIP is about your financial needs, but what about the needs of the people in the other car if you are at fault in an accident?

Though the state minimum in Rhode Island is a robust $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage, that’s the minimum, not the maximum for your liability coverage. Most people should give some serious thought to carrying more than the state minimum.

You can choose to buy more than the legal minimum of insurance. Most companies offer higher coverage levels, typically $50,000 – $100,000 in property damage and $100,000 – $250,000 per person/$300,000 – $500,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage. This will increase your monthly premium but might be worth it if you have assets that need to be protected.

Hopefully, in an at-fault accident, the damage you cause will be minimal and nobody will get hurt. But what if the worst happens?

You could hit someone in an expensive new Porsche. They might have a passenger in the car who needs medical attention. Or worse, a mother of three could have all her children in the car that you hit, so keep that in mind when looking at that $50,000 bodily injury cap.

Many people don’t realize it, but if your insurance only covers $25,000 for property damage and $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury, you’ll still be required to pay for any damages beyond what your insurance policy covers. If you choose to select only the minimum amount of coverage, you may not be protected for any major damages you cause.

When you’re choosing a policy, you may want to consider the company’s loss ratio. The loss ratio is the amount paid out in claims by a company versus the amount of premium taken in by the company.

Rhode Island Loss Ratios201520142013
Pure Premium681.49818.73691.55
Loss Ratio114.51139.51117.46
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According to the NAIC, a loss ratio in the 60s or 70s is appropriate — it means they aren’t charging too much premium — and they are regularly paying out claims to their customers. The table above shows the average loss ratios for the state of Rhode Island.

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders

You have all of the basic core coverage options and higher-than-average levels of liability insurance, and that’s great. However, it doesn’t mean you won’t need other coverage as well. There is a wide variety of coverage available that you may need to keep yourself on solid financial ground.

  • Umbrella policy – If you don’t think that $100,000/$300,000 in bodily injury and $100,000 in property damage (or whatever your specific insurance company has set as their maximum liability coverage) would be enough to protect your assets in a major accident, you may need an umbrella policy. Umbrella policies provide a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage. They also include coverage for things beyond car accidents such as libel and slander.
  • Rental reimbursement – If you experience an insured loss, rental reimbursement covers the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. For example, if you woke up one day and found your car had been damaged by hail, comprehensive insurance would cover the cost to repair it, but rental reimbursement would cover the cost of a rental car during repairs.
  • Roadside assistance – If your car needs to be towed or repaired on the side of the road, roadside assistance coverage can help cover the cost of those services.
  • GAP insuranceGAP insurance covers the difference between what your insurance policy pays and the amount still owed for the car. GAP insurance can help prevent you from being forced to make payments on a totaled vehicle, but the type of GAP coverage available varies widely from company to company and state to state, so research carefully before buying.
  • Non-owner insurance – If you don’t own a car but you still drive semi-regularly, you may want or need a non-owner insurance plan to provide you with third-party liability coverage so you’re financially protected.
  • Classic car insurance – The actual value of a classic or vintage car is often worth more than normal depreciation. Because of this, classic car owners need classic car insurance to make sure their vehicle is protected at its full value.
  • Usage-based/Pay-as-you-drive insurance – A device can be installed in your car or an app installed on your phone that records your driving information (speed, mileage) and reports it to your insurance company, which uses that information to offer you discounts based on your driving record. This has the potential for serious negative side effects though, so consider carefully before signing up.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in RI

Although a handful of states are now making it illegal for insurance companies to set rates based on gender, Rhode Island is not one of them. Your gender can and will affect your insurance premium, so you need to consider that when you’re getting insurance quotes.

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CompanyMarried 35-year old female annual rateMarried 35-year old male annual rateMarried 60-year old female annual rateMarried 60-year old male annual rateSingle 17-year old female annual rateSingle 17-year old male annual rateSingle 25-year old female annual rateSingle 25-year old male annual rate
Allstate F&C$3,991.81$3,919.97$3,965.46$4,138.80$6,951.89$8,211.70$4,181.73$4,314.24
GEICO General$3,352.25$3,435.27$3,435.27$3,358.93$10,460.06$13,683.07$3,471.31$3,624.88
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co$3,967.26$3,967.26$3,781.20$3,781.20$9,610.11$15,000.77$3,967.26$5,397.88
Nationwide Mutual$2,870.60$2,916.99$2,522.14$2,676.05$7,505.22$9,664.73$3,412.17$3,709.14
Progressive Direct$2,657.85$2,523.06$2,442.97$2,428.75$11,882.34$13,361.63$3,245.10$3,307.02
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,529.96$1,529.96$1,349.64$1,349.64$4,204.16$5,604.41$1,680.96$2,003.27
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$1,681.61$1,701.83$1,712.33$1,702.69$17,367.38$27,457.38$1,729.94$1,922.42
USAA CIC$2,081.24$2,057.69$1,994.32$1,954.09$9,649.96$11,028.79$2,842.49$2,983.23
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While it’s true that a variety of factors can affect your rates, there is still a significant difference in price from company to company, You should receive multiple quotes before purchasing a policy because shopping around for insurance could save you hundreds of dollars per year.

CompanyDemographicAverage Annual Rate
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 17-year old male$27,457.38
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 17-year old female$17,367.38
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoSingle 17-year old male$15,000.77
GEICO GeneralSingle 17-year old male$13,683.07
Progressive DirectSingle 17-year old male$13,361.63
Progressive DirectSingle 17-year old female$11,882.34
USAA CICSingle 17-year old male$11,028.79
GEICO GeneralSingle 17-year old female$10,460.06
Nationwide MutualSingle 17-year old male$9,664.73
USAA CICSingle 17-year old female$9,649.96
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoSingle 17-year old female$9,610.11
Allstate F&CSingle 17-year old male$8,211.70
Nationwide MutualSingle 17-year old female$7,505.22
Allstate F&CSingle 17-year old female$6,951.89
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 17-year old male$5,604.41
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoSingle 25-year old male$5,397.88
Allstate F&CSingle 25-year old male$4,314.24
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 17-year old female$4,204.16
Allstate F&CSingle 25-year old female$4,181.73
Allstate F&CMarried 60-year old male$4,138.80
Allstate F&CMarried 35-year old female$3,991.81
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoMarried 35-year old female$3,967.26
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoMarried 35-year old male$3,967.26
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoSingle 25-year old female$3,967.26
Allstate F&CMarried 60-year old female$3,965.46
Allstate F&CMarried 35-year old male$3,919.97
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoMarried 60-year old female$3,781.20
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoMarried 60-year old male$3,781.20
Nationwide MutualSingle 25-year old male$3,709.14
GEICO GeneralSingle 25-year old male$3,624.88
GEICO GeneralSingle 25-year old female$3,471.31
GEICO GeneralMarried 35-year old male$3,435.27
GEICO GeneralMarried 60-year old female$3,435.27
Nationwide MutualSingle 25-year old female$3,412.17
GEICO GeneralMarried 60-year old male$3,358.93
GEICO GeneralMarried 35-year old female$3,352.25
Progressive DirectSingle 25-year old male$3,307.02
Progressive DirectSingle 25-year old female$3,245.10
USAA CICSingle 25-year old male$2,983.23
Nationwide MutualMarried 35-year old male$2,916.99
Nationwide MutualMarried 35-year old female$2,870.60
USAA CICSingle 25-year old female$2,842.49
Nationwide MutualMarried 60-year old male$2,676.05
Progressive DirectMarried 35-year old female$2,657.85
Progressive DirectMarried 35-year old male$2,523.06
Nationwide MutualMarried 60-year old female$2,522.14
Progressive DirectMarried 60-year old female$2,442.97
Progressive DirectMarried 60-year old male$2,428.75
USAA CICMarried 35-year old female$2,081.24
USAA CICMarried 35-year old male$2,057.69
State Farm Mutual AutoSingle 25-year old male$2,003.27
USAA CICMarried 60-year old female$1,994.32
USAA CICMarried 60-year old male$1,954.09
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 25-year old male$1,922.42
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoSingle 25-year old female$1,729.94
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 60-year old female$1,712.33
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 60-year old male$1,702.69
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 35-year old male$1,701.83
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoMarried 35-year old female$1,681.61
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Note: The rates in the tables above are based on actual, purchased coverage in the state of Rhode Island, including high-risk drivers and those who choose higher-than-minimum levels of coverage. Your rates could vary significantly from what is shown based on your coverage choices and your driving history.

Cheapest Rates by ZIP Code

Your ZIP code is a major factor in your insurance rates. Everything from the number of accidents reported to the number of automobile thefts in a particular ZIP code goes into determining the rates for an area. This means that moving a block or two could dramatically change your annual premiums if it puts you in a different ZIP code.

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Below is a table of the 25 most expensive ZIP codes in Rhode Island:

Most Expensive Zip Codes in Rhode IslandCityAverage Annual Rate by Zip CodeMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Annual Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive Annual RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Annual Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Annual Rate
02907PROVIDENCE$7,262.39Travelers$11,565.67GEICO$9,245.62State Farm$2,897.12USAA$5,381.45
02909PROVIDENCE$7,237.08Travelers$11,060.59GEICO$9,245.62State Farm$2,897.12USAA$5,102.32
02908PROVIDENCE$7,060.09Travelers$10,074.55GEICO$9,245.62State Farm$2,897.12USAA$5,102.32
02905PROVIDENCE$6,922.54Travelers$10,947.57Liberty Mutual$8,976.30State Farm$2,897.12USAA$5,794.91
02904PROVIDENCE$6,466.51Liberty Mutual$8,976.30Travelers$8,417.74State Farm$2,897.12USAA$5,102.32
02903PROVIDENCE$6,360.08Travelers$9,470.14Liberty Mutual$8,976.30State Farm$2,897.12USAA$4,933.68
02911NORTH PROVIDENCE$6,341.33Travelers$9,171.84Liberty Mutual$7,555.06State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,433.62
02860PAWTUCKET$6,225.51Travelers$9,930.84GEICO$7,660.12State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,258.56
02912PROVIDENCE$6,185.30Travelers$9,171.84Liberty Mutual$8,976.30State Farm$2,897.12USAA$4,933.68
02918PROVIDENCE$6,115.57GEICO$9,245.62Liberty Mutual$8,976.30State Farm$2,897.12USAA$4,300.44
02910CRANSTON$6,107.90Travelers$8,603.12Liberty Mutual$7,555.06State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,187.73
02919JOHNSTON$6,101.40Travelers$8,723.05Liberty Mutual$7,555.06State Farm$2,733.99Progressive$5,271.32
02921CRANSTON$6,041.61Travelers$8,400.58GEICO$7,510.66State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,017.82
02920CRANSTON$5,975.60Travelers$7,850.49GEICO$7,510.66State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,017.82
02863CENTRAL FALLS$5,975.22Travelers$8,213.51GEICO$7,660.12State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,065.26
02906PROVIDENCE$5,881.57Liberty Mutual$8,976.30Travelers$8,209.34State Farm$2,897.12USAA$4,933.68
02914EAST PROVIDENCE$5,580.28Travelers$7,548.79Progressive$7,082.60State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,674.02
02916RUMFORD$5,580.25Travelers$8,216.34GEICO$7,660.12State Farm$2,733.99Nationwide$4,342.35
02861PAWTUCKET$5,423.20Travelers$7,348.61Liberty Mutual$6,431.29State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,986.07
02888WARWICK$5,348.42Travelers$7,608.61Liberty Mutual$6,431.29State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,432.68
02915RIVERSIDE$5,324.98Travelers$8,183.44Liberty Mutual$6,431.29State Farm$2,733.99Nationwide$4,342.35
02889WARWICK$5,281.80Travelers$7,165.04Liberty Mutual$6,431.29State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,406.74
02917SMITHFIELD$5,252.06Progressive$7,082.60Travelers$6,891.40State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,300.44
02823FISKEVILLE$5,243.45GEICO$7,510.66Travelers$6,773.15State Farm$2,897.12Nationwide$4,268.78
02865LINCOLN$5,230.17Travelers$7,524.78Liberty Mutual$6,051.59State Farm$2,733.99Nationwide$4,324.01
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On the other end of the spectrum, these are the 25 least expensive ZIP codes in Rhode Island:

Least Expensive Zip Codes in Rhode IslandCityAverage Annual Rate by Zip CodesMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Annual Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive Annual RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Annual Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Annual Rate
02842MIDDLETOWN$3,908.01Liberty Mutual$5,249.77Travelers$5,135.64State Farm$2,034.57Nationwide$3,469.02
02840NEWPORT$3,953.70Travelers$5,660.98Liberty Mutual$5,249.77State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,361.12
02835JAMESTOWN$3,967.95Travelers$5,844.74Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,361.12
02841NEWPORT$3,999.62Travelers$5,660.98Liberty Mutual$5,249.77State Farm$2,034.57Nationwide$3,514.01
02837LITTLE COMPTON$4,027.83Travelers$5,473.51Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,361.12
02891WESTERLY$4,057.50Liberty Mutual$5,749.70Travelers$4,819.39State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,694.86
02871PORTSMOUTH$4,112.71Travelers$5,886.01Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,489.60
02807BLOCK ISLAND$4,125.17Travelers$5,831.01Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,417.05
02878TIVERTON$4,181.30Travelers$6,004.65Liberty Mutual$5,249.77State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,678.96
02872PRUDENCE ISLAND$4,222.10Travelers$5,886.01Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,489.60
02894WOOD RIVER JUNCTION$4,240.73Liberty Mutual$5,749.70Travelers$5,416.44State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,813.30
02836KENYON$4,256.34Travelers$5,925.99Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,813.30
02898WYOMING$4,264.65Liberty Mutual$5,749.70Travelers$5,479.95State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,813.30
02882NARRAGANSETT$4,265.28Travelers$5,704.68Liberty Mutual$5,512.74State Farm$2,034.57Nationwide$3,712.07
02808BRADFORD$4,265.93Travelers$5,831.01Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,629.83
02813CHARLESTOWN$4,269.11Liberty Mutual$5,749.70Travelers$5,144.17State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,629.83
02879WAKEFIELD$4,280.44Travelers$5,724.80Liberty Mutual$5,512.74State Farm$2,034.57Nationwide$3,712.07
02832HOPE VALLEY$4,288.65Travelers$5,817.48Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,760.68
02804ASHAWAY$4,292.12Travelers$5,817.48Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,760.68
02875SHANNOCK$4,324.21Travelers$6,318.46Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,629.83
02881KINGSTON$4,339.38Liberty Mutual$5,512.74Progressive$5,271.32State Farm$2,034.57Nationwide$3,712.07
02833HOPKINTON$4,354.66Travelers$6,321.10Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,760.68
02892WEST KINGSTON$4,362.34Travelers$6,393.60Liberty Mutual$5,512.74State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,712.07
02873ROCKVILLE$4,448.23Travelers$6,334.94Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Progressive$3,999.24
02812CAROLINA$4,458.91Travelers$6,084.64Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,629.83
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Cheapest Rates by City

Much like your ZIP code, the city you live in can have a big impact on your insurance rates. Crime rates, street parking, and other variables in your town will affect the insurance rates for your city.

Below is a table of the least expensive cities for car insurance in Rhode Island:

Least Expensive Cities in Rhode IslandAverage Annual Rate by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Annual Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive Annual RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Annual Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Annual Rate
Jamestown$3,967.95Travelers$5,844.74Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,361.12
Newport$3,976.66Travelers$5,660.98Liberty Mutual$5,249.77State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,470.56
Melville$4,010.36Travelers$5,510.83Liberty Mutual$5,242.91State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,534.80
Little Compton$4,027.83Travelers$5,473.51Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,361.12
Misquamicut$4,057.50Liberty Mutual$5,749.70Travelers$4,819.39State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,694.86
Block Island$4,125.16Travelers$5,831.01Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,417.05
Tiverton$4,181.30Travelers$6,004.65Liberty Mutual$5,249.77State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,678.96
Prudence Island$4,222.09Travelers$5,886.01Liberty Mutual$5,236.06State Farm$2,034.57USAA$3,489.60
Wood River Junction$4,240.73Liberty Mutual$5,749.70Travelers$5,416.44State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,813.30
Kenyon$4,256.34Travelers$5,925.99Liberty Mutual$5,749.70State Farm$2,084.74Nationwide$3,813.30
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Notice that Providence, Warwick, and some of the other large cities in Rhode Island were not on that list? That’s because they are on the list of the most expensive cities for car insurance in Rhode Island.

Most Expensive Cities in Rhode IslandAverage Annual Rate by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Annual Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive Annual RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Annual Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Annual Rate
Providence$6,571.07Travelers$9,357.66Liberty Mutual$8,976.30State Farm$2,897.12USAA$4,973.73
North Providence$6,341.33Travelers$9,171.84Liberty Mutual$7,555.06State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,433.62
Cranston$6,261.91Travelers$8,950.44Liberty Mutual$7,665.33State Farm$2,774.78USAA$5,254.57
Johnston$6,101.39Travelers$8,723.05Liberty Mutual$7,555.06State Farm$2,733.99Progressive$5,271.32
Central Falls$5,975.22Travelers$8,213.51GEICO$7,660.12State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,065.26
Pawtucket$5,824.35Travelers$8,639.72GEICO$6,878.37State Farm$2,733.99USAA$5,122.31
East Providence$5,580.28Travelers$7,548.79Progressive$7,082.60State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,674.02
Rumford$5,580.24Travelers$8,216.34GEICO$7,660.12State Farm$2,733.99Nationwide$4,342.35
Riverside$5,324.98Travelers$8,183.44Liberty Mutual$6,431.29State Farm$2,733.99Nationwide$4,342.35
Warwick$5,268.89Travelers$7,297.82Liberty Mutual$6,431.29State Farm$2,733.99USAA$4,454.52
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It’s not unusual for large cities to have higher insurance rates.

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Best Rhode Island Car Insurance Companies

Deciding which car insurance company in Rhode Island is the best one for you can be a difficult choice. A few insurance companies might offer a wider variety of options than their competition. Other companies may provide more robust coverage. Still, others might be the most affordable option. How do you decide which is right for you?

It can be useful to gather as much information as possible about your options when making a decision, so below are some of the biggest factors you may wish to consider before you make a purchase.

The Largest Companies’ Financial Rating

One of the ways you can determine the stability level of an insurance company is by its financial rating.

Companies such as A.M. Best rate each company based on whether they have the financial assets needed to pay out claims over the course of the year and publish their reports for everyone to see, making this an excellent way to find out a bit more about the companies you’re considering for your insurance needs.

This shouldn’t be your only determining factor, however. A company with excellent financial ratings doesn’t necessarily have the happiest customers.

It also doesn’t guarantee their rates are better or worse than any other company, so this is just one of many factors to consider when choosing an insurance company.

Companies with Best Ratings

Geico, State Farm, Travelers, and USAA are the companies with the highest A.M. Best ratings in Rhode Island, but all of the insurance companies included in the table below scored highly on the A.M. Best scale.

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Companies with an A rating or above are typically financially stable, making them an excellent choice for anyone who may need to file a claim in the future.

CompanyAM Best Rating
Allstate F&CA+
GEICO GeneralA++
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins CoA
Nationwide MutualA+
Progressive DirectA+
State Farm Mutual AutoA++
Travelers Home & Marine Ins CoA++
USAA CICA++
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According to J.D. Power, the companies with the highest customer satisfaction rating in the area are Amica, State Farm, and Geico. Safety Insurance and Metlife came in at the bottom of the list. USAA is only available to military members and their families, so they were not included in the rating system.

Companies with Most Complaints in Rhode Island

Consumers everywhere are encouraged to report complaints regarding their insurance companies to their state Attorney General’s office. But how do you know if your problem warrants filing an official claim?

The NAIC can help guide you through the process. They have apps available on Android and iPhone that can walk you through the steps to take after an accident, including reporting an issue to the state if necessary.

When in doubt, you can always contact the Attorney General’s office at 401-274-4400 and ask for clarification. You can also find the online form to file a complaint as well as additional contact information on the Attorney General’s website.

Here’s a look at. complaint ratios for the. biggest companies in the state.

CompanyCompany Complaint
Ratio 2017
Total Complaints
2017
Allstate F&C0.5163
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co5.95222
Nationwide Mutual0.2825
Progressive Direct0.75120
State Farm Mutual Auto0.441482
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co0.092
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Cheapest Companies in Rhode Island

The chart below details some of the largest insurers in Rhode Island and their average annual rates.

CompanyAverage Annual RateCompared to State AveragePercentage
Allstate F&C$4,959.45-$43.91-0.89%
GEICO General$5,602.63$599.2710.70%
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co$6,184.12$1,180.7619.09%
Nationwide Mutual$4,409.63-$593.73-13.46%
Progressive Direct$5,231.09$227.734.35%
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,406.50-$2,596.85-107.91%
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$6,909.45$1,906.0927.59%
USAA CIC$4,323.98-$679.38-15.71%
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While rates are important, they are only one of the many factors you should consider when choosing your plan.

Making sure a policy has all the benefits you need is just as important as the rate you’ll pay for it, so check each policy carefully and make sure you understand what is covered (and what isn’t covered) before you accept it.

Also, please note that not every policy is available to every customer. For example, USAA is only available to members of the U.S. military and their families, which means you might not be able to sign up through USAA, even though they usually have the lowest prices.

Commute Rates by Companies

How far you commute each day can have a noticeable impact on your insurance rates. Typically, insurance companies break up their commute rates into mileage categories, such as 10-mile commute/6,000 annual mileage or 25-mile commute/12,000 annual mileage.

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The more time you spend driving each week, the more likely you are to be in an accident and have to file a claim. Because of this, you’ll probably pay a higher premium for your policy.

GroupCommute And Annual MileageAnnual Average
Travelers10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$6,909.45
Travelers25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$6,909.45
Liberty Mutual25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$6,384.99
Liberty Mutual10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$5,983.25
GEICO25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$5,716.30
GEICO10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$5,488.96
Progressive10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$5,231.09
Progressive25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$5,231.09
Allstate25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,994.34
Allstate10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,924.56
Nationwide10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,409.63
Nationwide25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,409.63
USAA25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,365.30
USAA10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,282.66
State Farm25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,479.54
State Farm10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,333.47
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Coverage Level Rates by Companies

Because there is such a wide variety of coverage options to choose from when selecting an insurance plan, your rates can vary wildly depending on what choices you make.

Your lifestyle choices also have a big impact on your comprehensive and collision insurance prices. Driving a 6-year-old Chevy sedan? Your comprehensive and collision coverage will probably be much more affordable than if you were driving a brand new Audi.

Take a look at the table below to see how your coverage choices can affect your rates at each company.

GroupCoverage TypeAnnual Average
TravelersMedium$7,036.02
TravelersLow$7,019.75
TravelersHigh$6,672.57
Liberty MutualHigh$6,597.08
Liberty MutualMedium$6,145.16
GEICOHigh$5,889.27
Liberty MutualLow$5,810.12
GEICOMedium$5,589.68
ProgressiveHigh$5,584.04
GEICOLow$5,328.94
AllstateHigh$5,236.55
ProgressiveMedium$5,196.08
AllstateMedium$4,945.81
ProgressiveLow$4,913.15
AllstateLow$4,695.99
NationwideLow$4,545.71
USAAHigh$4,520.27
NationwideMedium$4,438.92
USAAMedium$4,327.44
NationwideHigh$4,244.26
USAALow$4,124.23
State FarmHigh$2,539.55
State FarmMedium$2,402.31
State FarmLow$2,277.64
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Credit History Rates by Companies

Though it isn’t something that would occur to most people when choosing an insurance policy, one of the factors in your insurance rate is your credit history.

GroupCredit HistoryAnnual Average
Liberty MutualPoor$8,135.91
TravelersPoor$7,249.34
TravelersFair$6,752.96
TravelersGood$6,726.05
USAAPoor$6,414.26
GEICOPoor$6,278.27
AllstatePoor$6,222.18
ProgressivePoor$5,858.59
GEICOFair$5,446.57
Liberty MutualFair$5,399.61
NationwidePoor$5,115.80
ProgressiveFair$5,095.01
GEICOGood$5,083.04
Liberty MutualGood$5,016.84
AllstateFair$4,774.97
ProgressiveGood$4,739.68
NationwideFair$4,212.78
NationwideGood$3,900.31
AllstateGood$3,881.20
USAAFair$3,646.05
State FarmPoor$3,232.92
USAAGood$2,911.61
State FarmFair$2,184.74
State FarmGood$1,801.84
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According to the statistics, people with lower credit scores are more likely to file a claim. This means a low credit score can raise your rates, or possibly even be reason enough to deny you coverage, depending on the circumstances.

If your credit rating is low it doesn’t mean you have no options. Comparison shopping between companies can help you find the lowest available rates, potentially saving yourself hundreds of dollars a year. You can also work to improve your credit rating to help lower your insurance costs over time.

Driving Record Rates by Companies

Your driving record can have a significant impact on your insurance premiums, so maintaining a safe driving record is an excellent way to help keep your insurance cost low.

A traffic ticket may only cost you a small amount initially, but the incident will be reported to your insurance company and will most likely cause a rate increase, so keep that in mind when you are rushing through a school zone because you’re late to work.

Speeding tickets and other minor offenses may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but they will show up on your insurance premiums in the future. Obeying traffic laws and driving carefully is an effective way to keep your insurance costs as low as possible.

GroupDriving RecordAnnual Average
GEICOWith 1 DUI$9,473.52
TravelersWith 1 DUI$7,989.23
TravelersWith 1 speeding violation$7,053.75
ProgressiveWith 1 accident$6,772.26
Liberty MutualWith 1 DUI$6,658.34
Liberty MutualWith 1 accident$6,618.39
USAAWith 1 DUI$6,559.16
TravelersWith 1 accident$6,403.21
TravelersClean record$6,191.60
AllstateWith 1 DUI$5,752.11
Liberty MutualClean record$5,729.87
Liberty MutualWith 1 speeding violation$5,729.87
ProgressiveWith 1 speeding violation$5,089.68
AllstateWith 1 accident$5,049.86
NationwideWith 1 DUI$4,855.18
ProgressiveWith 1 DUI$4,794.93
AllstateWith 1 speeding violation$4,782.41
GEICOWith 1 accident$4,766.89
GEICOWith 1 speeding violation$4,548.61
NationwideWith 1 accident$4,480.98
ProgressiveClean record$4,267.49
USAAWith 1 accident$4,263.97
AllstateClean record$4,253.42
NationwideWith 1 speeding violation$4,225.48
NationwideClean record$4,076.88
GEICOClean record$3,621.50
USAAWith 1 speeding violation$3,333.54
USAAClean record$3,139.23
State FarmWith 1 accident$2,930.32
State FarmClean record$2,231.90
State FarmWith 1 DUI$2,231.90
State FarmWith 1 speeding violation$2,231.90
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Largest Car Insurance Companies in Rhode Island

While size isn’t always important, choosing a larger company with a national presence and multiple offices in Rhode Island can be a good way to be confident that you’ll be able to find someone to help you when you file a claim.

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Choosing a larger company makes it easier to find recommendations from other customers, so you may find that the larger a company’s customer base, the more people you know who can tell you what it’s like to work with them.

CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
Progressive Group$193,72065.71%21.01%
GEICO$109,61179.71%11.89%
Allstate Insurance Group$107,25662.08%11.63%
Amica Mutual Group$105,70863.36%11.47%
Liberty Mutual Group$65,12465.17%7.06%
USAA Group$63,85178.38%6.93%
Metropolitan Group$55,07557.15%5.97%
Nationwide Corp Group$52,88163.34%5.74%
Mapfre Insurance Group$42,52363.64%4.61%
Travelers Group$21,85354.69%2.37%
**State Total**$921,98567.20%100.00%
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Number of Insurers in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has 22 domestic insurance companies, meaning these companies not only do business in Rhode Island but that they are also headquartered in the state. There are 727 foreign insurance companies doing business in Rhode Island. This doesn’t mean they are headquartered in another country. It simply means that they are headquartered in another state.

StateDomestic InsurersForeign Insurers
Rhode Island22727
Connecticut67729
Massachusetts48697
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These numbers don’t include alternative insurance options, such as self-insurance or people who are insured through a charter program.

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Rhode Island Laws

Like every other state, Rhode Island has its own insurance and driving laws, rules, and regulations. Knowing the laws that are specific to your state is an important part of driving safety.

What is perfectly normal in one state might be illegal in another, while something against the law in Rhode Island could be completely legal somewhere else, so don’t assume that just because you know the law in Texas you won’t break the law in Rhode Island.

Car Insurance Laws

Car insurance laws are updated all the time, from simple things like adjusting the fine for speeding to complex changes such as writing laws to address new technologies like self-driving cars. It is vital to keep yourself up-to-date on the changes to traffic and insurance laws so you don’t find yourself in violation of the law.

For example, coasting downhill in neutral while driving in Rhode Island is illegal. The Rhode Island DMV website is a great resource to help you stay abreast of the driving laws in the state.

How Rhode Island Laws for Insurance are Determined

In Rhode Island, laws are passed by bicameral legislation. Once the law is passed by both the House and the Senate, it’s passed onto the governor for approval.

If the governor hasn’t approved a law before the General Assembly has adjourned, the law is assumed to have passed unless the governor sends notice of denial in writing to the Secretary of State.

Windshield Coverage

In Rhode Island, the law allows insurance companies to require aftermarket glass for a windshield replacement, but it must be at least equal in kind and quality to what you had before the damage was done.

High-Risk Insurance

If you have too many tickets, accidents, or DUI convictions, eventually insurance companies may stop considering you insurable. But Rhode Island requires all drivers to be insured, so how can you obey the law?

If you need a policy but can’t find a company that will take your business, you can reach out to the Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan (RI AIP) at (401) 462-9520 for assistance. They will assign you to an insurance company that is required to provide you a policy, though there is no guarantee what the rates will be for the plan.

As of July 2018, the state no longer accepts or requires SR-22 forms as proof of financial responsibility. Unless you’re a minor or they are required for business purposes, the SR-22 form is no longer necessary.

Low-Cost Insurance

At this time there are no discounts available in Rhode Island specifically for people on Medicaid, Medicare, or other government assistance programs, so, unfortunately, everyone must pay the full price for their auto insurance. There are other ways to save money on your insurance, however.

For example, many discounts are considered standard with almost every insurance company.

There are basic discounts, like discounts for a safe driving record or discounts for people who have multiple lines of insurance through the company, but that’s just the beginning.

Many insurance companies also give occupational discounts. Nurses, teachers, and active military are just a few of the groups who may be eligible for discounts through their insurance company. Some insurers even give discounts to students who meet a certain level grade point average.

Some companies also offer discounts through certain employer groups, so check with your human resources department to see if they offer car insurance discounts as one of your employee benefits.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Rhode Island

Insurance fraud isn’t just filing a fake claim. Filing incorrect paperwork, agents pocketing your payments, or exaggerating the damage in a claim are all various forms of insurance fraud.

Knowingly damaging your vehicle to file a claim is also insurance fraud, which means if you’re caught purposely setting your car on fire or arranging to have it stolen so you can file a claim, you’ll face severe penalties.

Insurance fraud isn’t limited to filing an illegitimate claim. Including prior damage in a current claim, acting as a witness for someone else’s false claim and exaggerating injuries suffered in an accident are all forms of insurance fraud.

Insurance companies take committing fraud seriously, so be sure to follow the law when it comes to buying insurance and filing claims. At the same time, if you have reason to believe your insurance company is fraudulently denying your claim, be sure to reach out to the Rhode Island Department of Insurance at (401) 462-9520 for assistance

Statute of Limitations

The law in Rhode Island states that you have three years to file a lawsuit over bodily injury and 10 years to file a lawsuit over property damage in a car accident. Otherwise, you are beyond the statute of limitations.

Almost any issue that can be taken to court will run into a statute of limitations, so if you believe you’ve been in an accident or filed a claim that needs to go through the court system, make sure you file right away to avoid running into the statute of limitations and having your case denied.

State Specific Laws

While many laws are the same from state to state or across the country, every state also has its own unique laws. Rhode Island is no exception.

For example, in Rhode Island, having more than three people in the front seat while driving is against the law. So is having so many people in the back seat that it interferes with the driver’s ability to see the road from the front, back, or side.

Make sure you know the local laws to avoid a ticket or accident.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

Every state has a similar set of basic requirements for getting your driver’s license. There are differences in the process from state to state and even differences in the process from person to person within each state. New drivers, experienced drivers who are new state residents, and senior citizens may each have different requirements when getting or renewing a license.

If you’re getting your license for the first time, or even just renewing or updating your license, you’ll need to make sure you follow all of Rhode Island’s rules and regulations.

REAL ID

The REAL ID Act is a federal law that is being implemented as an anti-terrorism measure. REAL IDs require more documentation as proof of your identification before they can be issued and are more secure, increasing the likelihood that someone’s ID matches their identity. Your ID will need to be compliant by October 2020, so don’t wait to update your ID.

Rhode Island is compliant with the REAL ID Act, which means that your Rhode Island REAL ID allows you to board commercial airplanes for interstate travel and enter federal buildings and facilities. If you want to verify that your license is REAL ID compliant, you can check the top right corner for a gold star.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

There are consequences for driving without insurance in Rhode Island, such as:

  • First offense – Your license/registration will be suspended for three months and you may be fined between $100 and $500.
  • Second offense – Your license/registration will be suspended for six months and you may be fined $500.
  • Third offense – Your license/registration will be suspended for one year and you may be fined $1,000.

You’ll also face a reinstatement fee of $30–$50 to get your license reinstated after your suspension.

Teen Driver Laws

Rhode Island has graduated laws for teen drivers, which means teens begin driving with a learner’s permit and work their way up to a full license after many hours of practice.

In Rhode Island, a teenager may get their learner’s permit at 16. Then they are required to log at least 50 hours of driving, at least 10 of which must be at night. There are other rules and restrictions listed in the chart below:

Minimum entry ageMandatory holding periodMinimum amount of supervised drivingMinimum ageUnsupervised driving prohibitedRestriction on passengersNighttime restrictionsPassenger restrictions
166 months50 hours, 10 of which must be at night16, 6 months1 a.m.-5 a.m.no more than 1 passenger younger than 2112 months or age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 17, 6 mos.)12 months or age 18, whichever occurs first (min. age: 17, 6 mos.)
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Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

In Rhode Island, license renewal is required every five years for the general population, with seniors over 75 required to renew their license every two years. At the renewal before your 75th birthday, your expiration date will be adjusted so that it falls on that date, preventing a 74-year-old from getting a license that doesn’t need to be renewed until they turn 79.

Drivers of every age are required to pass a vision exam for their driver’s license renewal. Drivers in Rhode Island are allowed to renew their license online at every other renewal, alternately going into their local DMV (or AAA location, if they are a member.)

New Residents

New residents in Rhode Island with an out-of-state driver’s license must get an in-state license from the DMV Cranston headquarters. To get your new license you must:

  • Surrender your out-of-state license
  • Pass a vision screening test
  • Complete and sign the license application
  • Show proof of residency
  • Pay any required fees

License renewal procedures

To renew your license in Rhode Island, you’ll need to complete the required form (either online or a printed copy, depending on whether you are renewing online or in-person) and your current license. The cost to renew your license is somewhere between $8 and $45, depending on your situation.

For people under the age of 75 licenses are renewed every five years. If you applied for your renewal and you haven’t received your new license within 45 days, you can contact the Cranston DMV at (401) 462-5862 to see if it has been returned to them.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

Most states use a system of points to monitor a person’s driving record, but Rhode Island does not use such a system. Rhode Island uses fines, suspensions, and other punishments to take the place of the point system.

This system results in much harsher punishments for larger offenses, such as DUIs or vehicular manslaughter, and all offenses are still reported to insurance companies so they will still affect your rates.

Rules of the Road

When it comes to the laws regarding driving and insurance, the majority of them are determined by the state. Everything from laws regarding seat belt requirements to required minimum insurance levels is specific to Rhode Island.

This means that you can’t assume that just because you know the laws in one state that you’ll be following the law in another. To keep yourself safe and prevent traffic tickets, make sure you follow all the traffic laws in Rhode Island.

Fault vs. No-Fault

Rhode Island is an at-fault state. This means the driver who is responsible for an accident is required to pay all the costs associated with the accident.

If you’re hit by another driver, you can file a claim with their insurance company or take them to court to cover any damages you’ve suffered.

However, this also means that if you hit someone else, they have all the same rights, so make sure you have sufficient liability coverage in place.

Seat belt and car seat laws

The law in Rhode Island states that the driver of a motor vehicle and all passengers over the age of eight must be restrained by safety belts whenever the vehicle is in motion.

Children under the age of 8 who are less than 57 inches and weigh less than 80 pounds must be in the rear seat of the vehicle and in the appropriate car seat for their size. Children under 2 years old and 30 pounds must be transported in a rear-facing car seat.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

According to the law in Rhode Island, drivers are required to keep to the right if they are driving slower than the traffic around them. Drivers are not allowed to pass on the right on a two-way road.

If you see an approaching emergency vehicle you are required to yield the right-of-way. This includes all vehicles with flashing red, blue, or amber lights.

If you see an emergency vehicle stopped to help someone on the road or highway, you are required by law to put a full car lane between you and the emergency vehicle. If there isn’t space available to yield a full lane, you must slow down for the safety of the emergency personnel and follow instructions given by a peace officer if one is on the scene.

Speed Limits

Rhode Island speed limits vary from area to area, just like other states. School zones have different speed limits than highways for a very good reason — speed limits are there to help keep people safe.

StateRural interstates (mph)Urban interstates (mph)Other limited access roads (mph)Other roads (mph)
Rhode Island65555555
Connecticut65556555
Massachusetts65656555
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There are several sections of I-95 in Rhode Island where the speed limit declines rapidly due to extreme curves in the road. These areas are marked with yellow arrow signs in addition to traditional speed limit signs to warn drivers of the upcoming speed reduction.

Ridesharing

In 2016, Rhode Island passed a law legalizing and regulating ridesharing companies. The law puts all ridesharing companies under the oversight of the Public Utilities Commission, requires background checks and insurance minimums, and establishes permit requirements.

Several insurance companies are creating policies specifically for rideshare drivers, so it might be worth looking into your options if you’re employed by a rideshare company.

Automation on the Road

There are no laws on the books in Rhode Island regarding automated vehicles at this time. You can keep up with future creation of or changes in the laws regarding vehicle automation on the Rhode Island DMV website.

Safety Laws

Rhode Island has laws in place to keep people safe while driving, biking, or walking. The state creates laws to prevent dangerous behaviors and keep people safe, whether it is to prevent texting while driving or driving under the influence.

Just like everything else, laws change over time, so just because you remember something being legal before doesn’t mean it is legal now. On the other hand, things that were illegal just a few years ago might be legal today, so make sure to do your research when it comes to driving safety laws.

DWI Laws

There were 20 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Rhode Island in 2018. The state is serious about protecting drivers on the road, so they have stiff penalties for driving under the influence (as evidenced by the chart above.)

BAC LimitHigh BAC LimitCriminal Status by OffenseFormal Name for OffenseLook Back Period/Washout Period1st Offense - ALS or Revocation1st Offense - Imprisonment1st Offense - Fine1st Offense - Other2nd Offense - DL Revocation2nd Offense - Imprisonment2nd Offense - Fine2nd Offense - Other3rd Offense - DL Revocation3rd Offense - Imprisonment3rd Offense - Fine3rd Offense - Other
0.080.151st-2nd non-injury misdemeanors, 3rd+ non-injury felony. DUI w/serious bodily injury is felony.Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years60 days - 18 monthsno minimum, but up to 1 year or 10-60 hours community service$100-$500 +$500 to hwy assessment fundpossible attendance to treatment program; SR-22 insurance1-2 years10 days - 1 year$400mandatory alcohol treatment program, IID for 1-2 years2-3 years1-5 years$400-$5000 +$500 to hwy assessment fundvehicle may be seized or forfeited, mandatory treatment program, IID for 2 years
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In Rhode Island you can be charged with DWI if you:

  • Drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher (known as a per se DUI)
  • Drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04 or higher
  • Drive under the influence of any drug or controlled substance
  • Drive with any traceable amount of a scheduled substance/illegal drug in your blood

Rhode Island doesn’t have a point system, so they allow individual judges to determine the specific penalties for a DWI conviction. However, the state does have a special, harsher punishment for drivers with a BAC of .15 or greater, including up to a year in jail and an 18-month license suspension for your first offense.

These things are especially important to keep in mind if you have a medical condition that affects the way your body processes alcohol. For example, many people who have had bariatric surgery find that they are especially sensitive to alcohol, causing them to have an elevated BAC after only one or two drinks.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Rhode Island is a very progressive state when it comes to marijuana laws, with both recreational and medical marijuana decriminalized and approved for use in the state.

Despite the state’s acceptance of marijuana use, driving while under the influence of marijuana is still a punishable offense. Possession while driving will cost you a six-month suspension of your license, while driving with detectable levels of the drug in your body subjects you to the state’s DWI laws.

Distracted Driving Laws

Texting, eating, using social media, and talking on the phone are just a few of the ways drivers are distracted behind the wheel.

StateHand-held banYoung drivers all cellphone banTexting banEnforcement
RIAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
MANoDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
CTAll driversDrivers younger than 18All driversPrimary
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According to the CDC, there are three types of distracted driving:

  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – removing your hands from the wheel
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off of driving

When it comes to distracted driving, texting is the worst because it combines all three forms of distraction. Because of this, Rhode Island is just one of many states with strict laws about phone use while driving. Keeping your phone in your bag or glove box while driving could save your life.

Driving Safely in Rhode Island

Driving is one of the most dangerous things the average person does on a daily basis. Nationally, there are more than 30,000 car accidents a year, causing almost 25,000 fatalities and more than 2 million injuries from coast to coast.

You need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, and one of the best ways is to be aware of the dangers of driving. Knowing the most dangerous roads, commuting times, and weather conditions can help you prepare for and possibly prevent an accident or even an untimely death.

Vehicle Theft in Rhode Island

Let’s take a look at the statistics on vehicle theft in Rhode Island. Below is a chart of the most commonly stolen vehicles.

RankMake/ModelModel Year Most Commonly StolenThefts
1Honda Accord1997101
2Honda Civic199895
3Toyota Camry201469
4Nissan Maxima200045
5Toyota Corolla201440
6Nissan Altima201338
7Ford Pickup (Full Size)200336
8Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee199932
9Honda CR-V199927
10Toyota Avalon200018
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If your vehicle were stolen it would be covered under the comprehensive portion of your insurance policy, but the possibility of replacing the car doesn’t stop you from feeling scared and violated if someone steals your car.

It isn’t just people with new or expensive cars that need to worry about theft. The most commonly stolen vehicles are often older family sedans or minivans.

While comprehensive coverage is often rejected in an attempt to keep your insurance costs low, keep in mind that a liability-only policy won’t protect you in case of car theft. If your car is one of the ones on the table of most commonly stolen vehicles above, you may want to think carefully before choosing not to buy comprehensive coverage.

Below is a chart of vehicle thefts by city in Rhode Island:

StatePopulationProperty
crime
BurglaryLarceny-
theft
Motor
vehicle
theft
Barrington16,307127261010
Bristol22,255978836
Burrillville16,4419318732
Central Falls19,3893915827162
Charlestown7,7646218404
Coventry35,0835098440520
Cranston81,3371,24821494391
Cumberland34,9732694320521
East Greenwich13,139136211132
East Providence47,5025786746546
Foster4,7363213181
Glocester10,108336207
Hopkinton8,10410142527
Jamestown5,483255191
Johnston29,3753617325236
Lincoln21,8634064433725
Little Compton3,498356290
Middletown15,9931782214214
Narragansett15,55610820844
Newport24,8127859066827
New Shoreham1,044184131
North Kingstown26,069273372288
North Providence32,6412996819833
North Smithfield12,4472041617711
Pawtucket71,6481,7883731,224191
Portsmouth17,38110217796
Providence179,8545,9251,0134,332580
Richmond7,5985011390
Scituate10,6314313273
Smithfield21,884238232105
South Kingstown30,823197461465
Tiverton15,7671893513717
Warren10,498137291017
Warwick81,6171,3831731,14961
Westerly22,6293847929213
West Greenwich6,1676416462
West Warwick28,7903199419728
Woonsocket41,54394726260778
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Road Fatalities in Rhode Island

According to the NHTSA, there were 59 traffic fatalities in Rhode Island in 2018. Of those, 20 were alcohol-related fatalities and 27 were speeding-related fatalities.

It isn’t just speeding and drinking that causes traffic accidents, however. Whether you were surprised by a coyote crossing the highway or arguing with your spouse on the phone, a traffic accident can cause serious damage to you and your vehicle.

Most fatal highway in Rhode Island

I-95 connects Massachusetts to Connecticut and passes through Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence. I-95 is also the biggest highway on the East coast, shuttling traffic from Maine to Florida.

It isn’t surprising, then, that I-95 is the most fatal highway in Rhode Island, with 39 fatal accidents in the last 10 years.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

As the chart below shows, weather and light conditions can have a significant impact on the number of accidents in a given place.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
Normal2924132169
Rain211105
Snow/Sleet010001
Other100001
Unknown000000
TOTAL3226143176
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Slick road surfaces or dark, poorly lit roads can increase the odds that you’ll be in an accident, so watching for those conditions can help keep you safe.

Weather and light conditions can even increase the severity of an accident, turning what would otherwise be a minor incident into a situation where injuries or even fatalities occur.

Drive cautiously when traveling through the dark or in inclement weather. Use your headlights and windshield wipers when necessary, drive slowly, and leave yourself plenty of space between yourself and the car in front of you to make sure you aren’t put in an unnecessarily dangerous situation.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Below you will find data on fatal crashes in each of Rhode Island’s counties.

Fatalities by County20142015201620172018
Bristol21112
Kent9791712
Newport51234
Providence2926284934
Washington61011146
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Unsurprisingly, Providence County has the highest number of fatalities in the state. Not only does Providence County share a border with Massachusetts, but it is where the largest city in the state is located, meaning there are significantly more people traveling through Providence County than the rest of the state.

Traffic Fatalities

While both urban and rural fatalities decreased for several years, 2016–2018 saw rural fatalities increase back to their 2009 levels.

RI Traffic Fatalities (Rural vs Urban)2009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Total83676664655145518459
Rural1915710567101915
Urban64525954604538416543
Unknown0000000001
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Fatalities by Person Type

The numbers are stable across all categories except for 2017, where there was a large spike in both passenger car and pedestrian fatalities.

Fatalities by Person Type20142015201620172018
Passenger Car1718193518
Light Truck - Pickup33444
Light Truck - Utility35668
Light Truck - Van11040
Large Truck11110
Other/Unknown Occupants10002
Total Occupants2628315032
Light Truck - Other00100
Total Motorcyclists10941118
Pedestrian14814217
Other/Unknown Nonoccupants10001
Total Nonoccupants15816239
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist00221
Total5145518459
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Fatalities by Crash Type

The number of fatal accidents involving a single vehicle has increased significantly since 2014, as well as the number of fatal accidents involving a roadway departure.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Total Fatalities5145518459
Single Vehicle3927365837
Involving a Large Truck21282
Involving Speeding1320234127
Involving a Rollover712111110
Involving a Roadway Departure2423234833
Involving an Intersection10781312
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Five-Year Trend For The Top Five Counties

2017 saw a notable increase in traffic fatalities in three of the five counties in Rhode Island.

Fatality Trends by County20142015201620172018
Providence County2926284934
Kent County9791712
Washington County61011146
Newport County51234
Bristol County21112
Top Ten Counties5145518458
All Counties5145518458
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Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Providence County has seen the largest increase in speeding-related fatalities since 2014.

Speeding Fatalities by County20142015201620172018
Bristol10011
Kent24565
Newport01120
Providence710122116
Washington355115
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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

2017 saw a significant increase in the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in both Providence and Washington counties.

Alcohol Related Fatalities by County20142015201620172018
Bristol00011
Kent42475
Newport10001
Providence711111611
Washington454103
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Teen Drinking and Driving

Out of 2,730 total DUI arrests, only 11 were people under the age of 18, which is less than 1 percent of the total DUI arrests in the state.

DUI ArrestsStatistics
DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)11
DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People52.79
DUI Arrests (18 years old and older)2,719
DUI Arrests (18 years old and older) Total Per Million People3,206.20
Total DUI Arrests2,730
Total DUI Arrests Per Million People2,584.18
DUI Arrests as a % of Total Arrests10.05%
% of POP.0.26%
Total Arrests27,171
2016 Estimated Population (Under 18)208,381
2016 Estimated Population (18 years old and older)848,045
2016 estimated population1,056,426
For every 1 minor arrested for a DUI, # of adults247
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EMS Response Time

These numbers represent both urban and rural EMS response times in minutes according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Rhode Island EMS StatisticsTime of Crash to EMS NotificationEMS Notification to EMS ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene to EMS Arrival at HospitalTime of Crash to Hospital ArrivalTotal Fatal Crashes
Rural3.697.8239.1148.7817
Urban7.446.3925.5336.3859
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The urban response times are faster, but considering that there are more ambulances and hospitals in urban areas than in rural ones, it makes sense that they are able to respond more quickly in urban areas.

Transportation in Rhode Island

Most people in Rhode Island have access to a vehicle, but the state provides an excellent bus and trolley system for public transit.

The RIPTA has lines that cover most of the state and provides robust coverage throughout the entire Providence area. While the bus and trolley lines are designed to be wheelchair accessible, Providence has also created a new wheelchair accessible taxi service to make transportation more accessible for the disabled.

Car Ownership

The average household in Rhode Island has two vehicles, with 215,000 households having two vehicles in 2017. This is almost double the 108,000 households who have three cars. Additionally, there are 114,000 households that have only one vehicle.

There are slightly more than 43,000 households that have four cars and just over 14,000 households with five or more, but the number of households that don’t have a vehicle at all is just under 15,000, which means there are more households with no cars at all than households with five or more vehicles.

Commute Time

The average commute time in Rhode Island is 23.9 minutes, which comes in under the national average of 25.5 minutes.

About 2.3 percent of drivers in Rhode Island have what is known as a super commute, meaning they drive more than 90 minutes each way. Another 2.3 percent of drivers fall on the opposite end of the bell curve with a commute of fewer than five minutes each way.

Commuter Transportation

In 2017, more than 80 percent of people in Rhode Island had a solo commute to work, which means four out of every five cars sitting in rush hour traffic is carrying only a single person.

Another 9.44 percent of drivers in Rhode Island carpooled to work, while 4.53 percent of people in the state are lucky enough to work from home, leaving them with no commute at all. Only 2.19 percent of people in Rhode Island commute via public transportation.

Traffic Congestion

Below are the traffic and congestion statistics in Providence, according to TomTom:

  • Congestion level – 19 percent, up 1 percent from 2017
  • Extra travel time – Nine minutes per 30-minute trip in the morning, 13 minutes per 30-minute trip in the afternoon
  • Morning peak – 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Evening peak – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Highways – 14 percent congestion
  • Non-highways – 22 percent congestion

When it comes to your insurance premiums, your rates are determined in part by your commute time, which is affected by traffic congestion as well as the number of accidents on the road. Adjusting your work hours can be a simple way to reduce the time you spend in traffic and help reduce your insurance premiums.

You can also change the way you commute and take the bus or train to work, or possibly ask your boss if you can work from home for part of the week to further reduce your overall commute time. This is a smart way to help keep your premiums low.

Did we miss any important information in this guide? More importantly, is there cheaper car insurance available to you in Rhode Island? Enter your ZIP code now to find out.

References:
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